Schools call for more support when teaching lessons on LGBTI-inclusivity

Schools call for more support when teaching lessons on LGBTI-inclusivity

Teachers have called on the UK government to provide more support for schools teaching lessons on LGBTI-inclusivity.

Headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson of Anderton Park School said that guidance on teaching LGBTI issues at schools was unclear at the National Association of Head Teachers’ (NAHT) conference on Saturday (4 May).

The move comes after months of protests outside schools with LGBTI programs in Birmingham, including Anderton Park primary. The protests began in opposition to the No Outsiders program being taught in Parkfield Community School.

Hewitt-Clarkson said that the ‘beyond-awful state of affairs’ needed to be addressed.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has spoken out against the protests.

‘The lead protestors have no children at my school’

Speaking at the conference, Hewitt-Clarkson called out people involved in the demonstrations who had no

‘The lead protestors have no children at my school,’ she said.

Hewitt-Clarkson also addressed some of the banners the protestors had displayed at the school grounds.

These included slogans such as ‘Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’ and ‘We have a say in what they learn’.

‘How have we got to this beyond-awful state of affairs?’ Hewitt-Clarkson asked attendees at the conference.

She praised the government’s upcoming relationships education policy as ‘excellent and clear’.

The policy will teach children that both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages are a life-long commitment. It also teaches that families can be in a multitude of forms, such as LGBTI parents, single parents, grandparents.

But Hewitt-Clarkson said that the policy remained vague on numerous points. This includes that the policy did not inherently support promoting all types of relationships, but rather focuses on the general ideas of ‘love and care’.

She also objected to suggestions that schools have discretion over whether LGBTI learning materials were age-appropriate for their students.

She said that the policy had left many headteachers dealing with confusion from its lack of direction and vagueness.

Hewitt-Clarkson called on Hinds to work with her and other members of the NAHT ‘to sort out this unequal mess’.

Ongoing dispute 

The row over LGBTI-inclusivity education in UK schools has been making headlines since January this year.

This followed a series of protests against the No Outsiders program earlier in the year.

A number of protests have been initiated in Muslim-majority areas. The protestors claim that primary school children are too young for such material or that pro-LGBTI education stands in contrast to Islamic teachings.

A number of schools in the area halted their LGBTI-inclusivity lessons as a result.

LGBTI rights advocates, including LGBTI Muslim groups, have condemned the campaigners’ actions.

Government education officials and the head of the UK’s school watchdog, Ofsted, have also voiced their support for LGBTI-inclusivity lessons.

The No Outsiders program was introduced by Parkfield Community School’s Assistant Headteacher, Andrew Moffat.

The teacher has been widely praised for his contribution to LGBTI education in UK schools, being shortlisted for a global teaching award and receiving an MBE in 2017.

Last week it was announced that Moffat would be open and lead this year’s Birmingham Pride Parade.

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Author: Calum Stuart